New England Central at Stafford Springs, Connecticut—Again.

Call this ‘Part 2’—More hard light.

A few days ago, I displayed black & white photos I made at Stafford Springs, Connecticut in hard morning sunlight. See: Going Against the Grain.

Where the earlier images used an unusual film type (Foma Retropan), today’s image was made on Ilford HP-5, but with some special processing.

On May 9, 2017, New England Central freight 608 works timetable northward through Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Exposed on Ilford HP-5 using a Leica IIIa fitted with a Nikkor f3.5 35mm lens. Film was processed in Ilford Perceptol developer diluted 1:1 with water; after fixing and rinsing, negatives were toned in a 1:9 selenium solution for six minutes, then rewashed and scanned. The sky area received some localized exposure adjustment in post-processing, while there was some overall contrast adjustment to improve the appearance of the image.

In both posts, black & white photos feature New England Central 608 (a freight that runs between Willimantic, Connecticut and Palmer, Massachusetts) passing downtown Stafford Springs shortly after sunrise.

Today’s image was exposed from Main Street in Stafford on the opposite side of the tracks from the earlier photos, which provides a different perspective on the train and village.

Part of this exercise is aimed at demonstrating black & white photographic technique, however I’m also hoping to show how different angles at the same location can result in significantly different photos.

Also, that it’s possible to make interesting photos in difficult lighting situations, if you apply a creative approach to your photography.

I’m done here yet! To be continued on another day.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!





4 comments on “New England Central at Stafford Springs, Connecticut—Again.

  1. Mark Healy on said:

    I think both have their place. I certainly don’t believe that B&W is old hat.

  2. Ken B on said:

    I like both, each has advantages. Mostly I prefer color, but …

    In old historical photographs, where B&W was usually the only option, you can see one of the great benefits; you can focus on the details and shapes of the buildings or the land forms or other objects in the picture, without your brain being distracted by the green of the trees and the other bright colors that sometimes get in the way. The same applies to modern photographs, where B&W lets the photographer (or post-processor) eliminate distractions to focus on what they want to see or portray to others. In a photo of a train with bright orange G&W engines, your eye is drawn to the orange and may miss other aspects of the image, or details of the locomotive itself.

    I think B&W works better in cases where there are dominating geometric shapes or designs and more contrast; not so well for general landscapes where the colors may be the most important features or where the overall scene is roughly the same intensity. If it’s going to be B&W, then it should contain some actual B and W!

    Some images don’t seem to work very well in B&W, such as where there is a large scene and a small subject (train or other object) that blends in with the background. Color might help it to stand out, if that’s what you want. B&W seems to work well with subjects that are themselves B&W (most steam locomotives, Penn Central diesels? the inside of tunnels??).

    Sometimes it would be nice to see a color version too, and nowadays we have that option. 🙂

  3. Personally I find some of my most successful images to be in B&W. I make color too, and in many of these same circumstances. Perhaps some of the other readers will voice an opinion? Anyone?

  4. Dave Clinton on said:

    Just curious…why, with all the beautiful scenery along the NECR do you use B&W? Personally, I think it sucks, with what is available in today’s photography! Sorry, but it does absolutely nothing for me, and I’ve been enjoying rail photography since the days when I couldn’t afford color and had to take B&W.

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